No More Classroom Cupcakes… We Can Do This!

Sep 21, 2013 | August, Back To School, Freebies, Management, TpT in Action | 40 comments

Yes you read the title correctly… no more cupcakes at school for me!  Our nutrition department this year visited at back to school and gave us an approved list of things to eat and guess what… those delicious cupcakes and sugary frosted cookies were not on it! I totally thought it was a conspiracy!

No More Classroom Cupcakes - Flyer and Alternatives

So I posted on my fanpage… my frustration and love for cupcakes.  Both sides of the coin were fairly represented by you all and I have to admit.. I started to really understand what exactly the point was!  I am not a health nut or healthy by any means but I realized.. is that what I want for my own son? No!

So, No More Classroom Cupcakes!

OK… imagine… I have 24 kids in my class… we get 24 sets of cupcakes every year!  That’s about a set of cupcakes every 2 weeks if you evenly spread them out along the days they are in school!

I looked up a Walmart cupcake and they have anywhere from 20-28 fat grams!!!!  Wowsers! That’s not even talking about sugar and all that other stuff in them that get’s them wired.  And we all know they don’t really eat the cupcakes and only want the rings but still!

So here are some of the solutions my readers came up with!

–  Fruits and vegetables… they don’t get enough as it is so why not.  As a teacher I can tell you kids love  them and it appears by their reactions they don’t get enough at home!

–  School supplies… that’s right what kids would not love a new box of crayons or a new pencil.  All are available at the dollar store and the really need them!

– Trinkets… why not?  Let them bring in those little party trinkets!  Quickly pass them out and be done with it.  We all know when they get those cupcakes they are more concerned about the ring on top anyways so why not just skip the cupcake and go for the cheap toy!

– Necessities… again.. what kid would not love a new toothbrush!  Just saying… for the price of cupcakes you could spend the same at the dollar store and get kids something they really need!

I hardly think any child will complain about getting something new!  I think that’s going to be key too… just getting started on it and setting that norm!

We wanted to share the flyer with you.  We give it to you in a traditional PDF you can print and use as well as an editable PDF.  Using Adobe you can change the words on the letter.

No More Cupcakes Flyer. Send this flyer home to inform your families and give them some ideas for celebrating birthdays.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

No More Classroom Cupcakes - Flyer and Alternatives


  1. Chelsea

    I prefer non sugar items. My co- teacher and I were tired of the sugar rushes the kids would get. So we decided on party days we would ask parents to send pizza ingredients. Then the kids would put it together. This was usually holiday party’s. Birthdays were a little harder to convince parents not to bring sugary items.

  2. Lori

    I do a birthday book! The birthday child brings a wrapped book to school on or around their birthday. The child opens it in front of the class and we read it allowed as a celebration of their day! I also write a special birthday message in the book and the book becomes a part of our classroom library for others to read and enjoy! It is a great way to encourage reading and celebrate each individual in our classroom!!

    • Nancy

      I have 2 students with food allergies. Treats are off the list. Last year I had parents come in to do an activity with the students. If the child was interested in rockets, the parent read about astronauts/rockets. Then we had a craft activity in relations to the birthday child’s interest. We learned about astronauts, rockets, and about the birthday child’s interest. The best part, it was the art lesson for the week and parent help to boot.

  3. Cheryl Abraham

    I love the idea of celebrating a child’s birthday with a pencil or something other than food! Last year 7 out of 15 of my students had some sort of food allergy or intolerance . I am a mom with two kids at home with peanut allergies. Birthday treats were so difficult to know who could eat them and who could not! As a teacher I do not want to be responsible to determine what is safe for my students to eat and what is not. I spent so much precious classroom time trying to determine if a birthday treat was safe. I will be changing my classroom policy to no food for birthday treats! Thanks !

  4. Cherie

    I have made cake balls for birthdays. The kids don’t make such a mess and they love them.

  5. Lauren

    Do you have this flyer in Spanish?

  6. laurie kiester

    I love your point. I realistically don’t think a kid is going to be happy about a toothbrush v. a cupcake. Instead, why not make (yes, as in actually bake) something healthy and bring the recipe. My husband makes a killer carrot cookie that kids love and learning to substitute sugar for unsweetened applesauce and honey is a life lesson. If your school doesn’t allow homemade treats, but allows store bought cupcakes……. what’s the point? As I have alternated between the homemade treats and cupcakes, I have found that students (and I teach high school BTW) not only prefer the homemade for flavor, but for the fact that someone made it for them. That’s another thing missing from a lot of homes and bestides, “processed” food is another part of the problem. I also keep fruit on hand as an alternate choice. I do birthdays once a month. Posting (on the board) the calories and sugar content helps in their decision making too. 😉 Who knew so many life lessons could be wrapped up in a birthday treat. 🙂

    Thank you for the post.

  7. Christopher

    First, I love this idea. Wish I would have done something like this in my third grade class. I think it would be cool to encourage some kind of charitable donation to something in the student’s name… Just thinking out loud.

    On the flyer, shouldn’t there be a question mark after the sentence “So can I still bring something to make my child feel special on their birthday?”

  8. Melinda

    My class does one birthday celebration a month. It really helps when we have 3/4 birthdays in one month. Parents have done popcorn, pudding, jello & even fruit kabobs. It’s true most kids don’t even eat the cupcakes or they wipe off all the frosting.

  9. Cristina

    This is great, but you really think kids like veggies as much as cupcakes? Wishful thinking, but I just don’t buy it. If your kids really do, I’d love to hear your secret! 🙂

  10. VRW

    I stress to my parents all the same reasons for the “no cupcake” idea…and I always mention to them about the EXPENSE of buying 24+ store-bought cupcakes!! I’ve tried asking for the MINI-size cupcakes which helps, and some comply, but most do not. 🙁

    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      Mini cupcakes are definitely more size appropriate for kinders. I tell used to tell my parents to buy the minis and request the rings. Most bakeries will give you a bag of clean rings to give the teacher. =)

  11. Lyndsey

    I love this!! I despise cupcakes for the same reasons you posted! So glad I have a handout out now! Thanks!!

    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      So glad you can use the flyer. Happy back to school to you!

  12. Michelle C

    Interestingly enough my kids’ school didn’t have any guideline about birthday snacks, but most of the time we DIDN’T have cupcakes even from the other families. My kids usually chose cookies to bring. My one son’s favorite was oatmeal zucchini chocolate chip cookies. It is nice to have alternatives and variety.though.

  13. An Ontario Teacher

    We’ve not been allowed to serve cupcakes, cookies, or any other foodstuffs for years in my school board (a huge one with over 150,000 students in the Toronto, OntaRio area). The reason? Food allergies. Too many students with so many different allergies. Milk, various nuts, eggs, peanut butter, and the list goes on. Then of course, our government also added on the fact that there was too much fat and sugar in many foods.

    How did we ever survive before? It’s also a legal requirement that Ontario teachers be trained each year in how to administer an EpiPen (called or referred to as ‘Sabrina’s Law’. )

  14. Tammy

    We have had a very strict rule and list of alternatives for about 5 years. I didn’t think much of it at my other school but now I am at a high poverty school. Did anyone ever price those alternatives… many of my parents cannot afford them. My children might get 3 cupcakes in a year. The new policy has pretty much shut down Bday treats in our school… Parents had delivered snacks to the office only to be told to take them home. It is hard to explain to a child who buying these snacks was a big deal and now he has nothing and is embarrassed. Parents have been told that teacher will not use any food rewards. Parties at our school are pretty much put on by teachers. It gets expensive if I want to give my class a treat for a celebration like fruit, who will wash and cut it up and so forth…me that morning. I gave Cutie oranges a couple times but I am a single mom teacher and it gets so expensive. We seem to be bent on what a few people want..I know we should eat healthy but as a mom I make sure my children get healthy on a day to day basis…I want them to be able to enjoy a treat sometimes. It is my choice for my child.

  15. Kimberley West

    I started this a few years ago and have received a positive response. Not wanting to take away from the birthday child’s special day, they and only they get a plain sugar cookie cut in the shape of our room mascot which they get to decorate. This avoids hurt feelings as some bring treats and some don’t, every child gets to feel special on their special day. The kids love this. I make several cookies at a time and freeze them so I have them ready when I need them.

  16. Lauren

    My daughter’s school doesn’t allow them and her teacher makes cinnamon rice every month. See loves it!

  17. Julie Webb

    I have had a Healthy Birthday Club for the last eight years. It is totally voluntary, but I probably have 10-15 per quarter. This year when they brought me the treat, I gave them a ball that said “I hope you have a ‘ball’ on your birthday!”

  18. vicki hashimoto

    I cant believe this is so long over due! I haven’t allowed sweet treats in my classroom for the past 12 years. It is fruit , veggies, popcorn and crackers, cheese and such for all of our celebrations. It is amazing what these kids will put away when given a chance to eat and party in a HEALTHY way. It has been an awesome learning experience to see that kids will accept and celebrate what you teach them!

  19. Beth

    We don’t have this rule at our school but as a “working outside the home” mom – I found it hard logistically to get the cupcakes and get them to the school. Plus I felt bad for the teacher having to handle it on their own (even though none of our teachers have ever complained)! I started doing goodie bags for my kids to take into school on their birthdays – filled them with trinket toys and one or two pieces of (nut free) candy. This way the teachers could pass them out as the kids left the classroom. In my mind- it made things easier on everyone!

  20. Kelly W

    Its not just 24 a year.. its more like double that in some classroom.. candy and cupcakes and cookies are used as prizes, motivators, and are brought in for every holiday (some made-up) .. there have been weeks when my kid has come home talking about treats served and tallied up it was more like 3 -4 a week average over a period of 4-5 months.. ridiculous. And with all the food allergies that are so prevalent now.. its not only unhealthy.. its dangerous.. give my kid a pat on the back.. say good job! or Keep up the good work! she doesnt need sugar.

  21. Jericca

    Oh my word, maybe toothbrushes would fly in kinder, but the 4th grader who brings toothbrushes on his birthday instead of cupcakes is just asking to be a pariah.

    I agree with other comments, banning cupcakes isn’t the answer to any health problem. Besides the fact that nutrition starts at home and it’s the parents’ responsibility to keep their child healthy (which doesn’t always happen, I know), school lunches are full of processed crap and empty calories. I’d WAY rather kids have a cupcake every two weeks than have them eat school lunches every day. Now, that’s not to say that banning cupcakes is a bad idea, but I feel it’s a misplaced effort that would be better spent on something more impactful.

  22. Mary Bauer

    I personally won’t miss the cupcakes.

  23. Mw5

    The rule started at my children’s school this year. My daughter in 1st grade was excited to do something different and having a September birthday, we were one of the first. I bought Babybel cheese and use my fondant cutters to cut a red into the wax then her other favorite food is black olives, so each student got a paper skewer with 6 olives and a babybel on top….a lot of kids tried something new and all the teachers were excited and I didn’t have to bake a single thing, in love with the rule change!

  24. Linda

    I wish we had that rule! Not only do my kiddos get 29 cupcakes a year, but the new trend at my school is parents bringing fast food and dropping it off at the front desk for their kiddos for lunch!

    It’s so true about the rings, too! Ha!

  25. R addington

    I’m sorry, I’m going to have to disagree with this. My students “maybe” have cupcakes 3-4 times a year and they love them. One or two may just want the ring on top, but most eat the whole thing. I think the nutrition department is going just a little bit too far. There weren’t nearly as many overweight kids when we were growing up and we had all kinds of sugary crap too. The main difference- we played. All. the. time. And not with our thumbs on some game. If they REALLY want to see an improvement, let P.E. be for an hour of good exercise. We get 30 min. Yes, cupcakes are not good for you. But banning them from school parties isn’t going to do a thing. We have all kinds of rules at our school, too. If you get right down to it, the stuff they serve that is supposedly “healthy” really isn’t that much better for you. Plus, I know they are eating all kinds of processed snacks at home. Now, I am fat. And not proud of it. But I wasn’t overweight as a kid. In fact, I didn’t even eat lunch. I threw it away every single day for years. (My sister made the worst peanut butter sandwiches in the world.) I don’t think school lunches have as much impact on kids’ diets as people think.

    • ppmsister

      I couldn’t agree more! Teaching children about moderation in all things and exercising is so much more important than denying them treats.

  26. Deanne Lanni

    Kuddo’s for your school! We have this policy in our school also. But, it isn’t enforced well. Due ti food allergies I did send home notes for fruits and veggies. Honestly, kids love these! I had a parent COMPLAIN about serving fruits and veggies! My principal backed the parent and we had sugary treats back in the room. The child with allergies…went without! I was appalled AND I refuse to serve food in my room any more! The worse part – the parent who complained has many food allergies herself!

  27. Sandy Welch

    Yikes! I’d be in big trouble. I have each child make their own birthday cake and frost it! Maybe we need to think of a healthier birthday treat that they could make…

    • Charlotte Stephens

      Well this is tough because cupcakes have always been a real treat and I couldn’t agree more about school food. I’m a mother of a junior in high school and the other in first year college and not a single cavity! I worked in the dental field for 20 years and the last 12 in elementary. I’m not a fan of sugar but its part of childhood. How about keep the cupcake (no frosting) top them with their favorite fresh fruit and add a little whipcream? A cupcake sounds so much better than school food…I’m just sayin

    • Toni

      I think that is sweet letting them make their own cakes and you are teaching a skill! Making that cake will be something they remember the rest of their lives! Do not stop doing that! You sound like a very caring teacher to me! One super thing one of my parents brought in for a class treat this year was homemade smoothies! The only problem with”homemade” is it could turn into a dangerous situation. Our school does not allow us to serve anything to our students that is homemade. The only reason I could serve the smoothies is because the child’s mom was a teacher at the school!

    • Katie

      We did donuts last year. Still not super healthy, but we made some delicious ones with real strawberries(as well as flax seed and whole wheat flour) and the kids loved them. I sent 72 minis for 20 kids, I accidentally made too many and thought they’d send home the extras, the boxes came back empty.

  28. Miss Trayers

    I kind of wish we had that rule. On top of being unhealthy, they are just so messy! Over half my class are summer babies so we don’t have that many celebrations this year, but I still never look forward to it.


  29. Cookin' Carin

    I’ve been cupcake free for 3 years now and love it! I always hated telling the nut allergy kiddos that they couldn’t partake in the festivities because all store bought treats state “may contain nuts” (not to mention the gluten sensitive, egg allergic, etc). I just wish it would become a school/district policy so I’m not seen as the “mean” teacher by people that don’t fully understand the reasoning. Thanks for the flyer!

  30. ldemello

    our school has a no outside food policy as well as no “goodie” bags of any kind!!!

  31. MrsS

    I have a no cupcake rule in my classroom, too. This is a great alternative list. Thanks for sharing!

  32. justhave2teach

    I LOVE this!!! We have had the no cupcake rule for SEVERAL years! I do snacks in my room, and I just so happen to have the child’s snack day be on their birthday, so sometimes they sneak in the cupcakes…. BUT you are soooo right with that last part! 99% of the time they eat the sugary blue frosting take the ring and throw the rest in the trash. Not a great snack for the day. I am def. going to print this and give out at my parent orientation!

  33. Michelle Thom

    Super cute ideas Jennifer! Our no cupcakes went into effect two years ago and I love the sheet you made as a reminder! I am going to send it home next week!

    Thank you:)
    from Well, Michelle?


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